Genetic diversity of coronaviruses in bats in Lao PDR and Cambodia
Audrey Lacroix, Veasna Duong, Vibol Hul, Sorn San, Hull Davun, Keo Omaliss, Sokha Chea, Alexandre Hassnin, Watthana Theppangna, Soubanh Silithammavong, Kongsy Khammavong, Sinpakone Singhalath, Zoe Greatorex, Amanda E. Fine, Tracey Goldstein, Sarah Olson, Damien O. Joly, Lucy Keatts, Philippe Dussart, Aneta Afelt, Roger Frutos, Philippe Buchy
This PREDICT project detected coronavirus in many bats within Lao PDR and Cambodia and documented for the first time several bat species as hosts of coronaviruses in the region.
- Bats were tested for the presence of virus at high-risk animal-human interfaces in Lao PDR and Cambodia, which led to coronavirus RNA being detected in 93 of 1,965 bats sampled (4.7%)
- This study documented three new bat species, two fruit bats and an insectivorous bat, as being hosts of coronaviruses in the region: Macroglossus sp., Megaerops niphanae and Myotis horsfieldii
Although there is currently no evidence that the viruses found are pathogenic to humans, most of the bats sampled were destined for human consumption, thus highlighting the importance of educating local communities on how to co-exist safely with wildlife to mitigate virus exposure.